The online space is growing with more wealth coaches who peddle the idea that many fear being rich. It’s said that the average person doesn’t try to achieve substantial wealth because they are afraid of what it means to be “rich”. Their views of the rich is negative, associating them with greed and corruption.
Could healthcare professionals fear being rich? If so how would it affect their wealth? After all, there is a bit of stigma associating medicine with money.
The Definition Of Rich
Becoming mega-rich ($100 million+) early in the career of a healthcare professional one has to be earning tons of money and be an incredible saver. It’s less likely to earn that kind of money except for a few specialties.
To attain that kind of wealth a healthcare professional would have to undoubtedly abandon their health care role and take on a leadership role. They would need to own multiple medical offices staffed with associate clinicians.
Being rich (~$10 million) by age 60 isn’t a big deal because it’s believed the healthcare professional saved a lot of money. By that age it’s also less likely that our wealth would get displayed. People are more timid about asking a confident 60-year-old what their net worth is.
Fear Being Rich
I certainly would be afraid of having a $10 million net worth. The responsibility and the fear of losing it would be immense.
There would be a worry about becoming the “typical” rich person who abuses their wealth and power and becomes greedy. In order to attain such wealth, a person would also have to bust their ass. One could very easily get carried away with earning a lot of money and become a workaholic.
It’s exhausting just imaging the kind of lifestyle one would have to live to be a deca-millionaire.
Most Doctors Will Be Millionaires
Being a millionaire doesn’t mean what it once did. The value of $1 million is much less than what it was when the term first became popular.
By retirement age most healthcare professionals will have a couple of million saved up and many will have $5+ million.
If you factor in the pensions that they vest in and eventually receive, almost all will be multimillionaires. A $100k/year pension is worth at least $2-3 million.
Why The Topic Matters
Who cares if healthcare professionals have fear being rich?
If one is afraid of being rich then they may not aim for larger goals in life. They may not take the risk necessary to achieve the envisioned success.
Even worse, if one has a fear of being rich because of disdain for the rich then it’s easy to shun personal finance topics. That person will only focus on clocking in at their job, getting a paycheck and spend the money because they don’t want to be “like those rich guys”.
“Money is there to enjoy life!”
“What’s the point of having money if you don’t use it to experience life!”
“If I get richer that means someone else become poorer.”
This is one of the ways healthcare professionals might avoid building wealth. Negative attitudes toward the rich can cause them to recoil from saving, investing, and understanding money.
Should You Aim To Be Rich?
Becoming rich for the sake of being rich is like becoming a doctor for the sake of an MD degree – it probably won’t make sense in the long-run and the chance of burning out is high.
I wrote about the utility of excess wealth in this post.
If being rich means that you will have more opportunities in life and that you can affect those around you more positively then it makes sense to aim for more wealth.
For most healthcare professionals there is little utility to being rich. I suspect that most of us wouldn’t do anything incredibly creative with $20 million versus $2 million. And that might be the real reason why we won’t expend the extra effort to accumulate that $20 million.
Overcoming The Fear Of Being Rich
I posed these questions to myself:
- Do I look down on those who are rich?
- Do I think rich people are wasteful?
- Are rich people greedy?
- Do rich people make the world a shittier place?
- Do rich people use their wealth to manipulate others?
All these are completely simply stereotypes of the wealthy. These are adjectives that describe human beings and not the status of being rich.
There are broke ass narcissistic pieces of shit and there are glorious, heart-warming individuals with millions of disposable dollars.
Some healthcare professionals look down on the rich and yet play the lottery. Their rationale of course is that they would give at least half of the money away.
These are also good thought experiments to do:
- I want to be rich so that I can _____.
- Being rich means ______.
- If I had the wealth of person x then I would ______.
- I would live my life ______ if I was rich.
- Those around me would be affected _______ if I was rich.
- Being rich starting today means _______.
- Without being rich I could never ________.
The Fear Of The Process
For others it may not be the state of being rich but the process of becoming rich. Having to save, be frugal, say no, and build up a project up from scratch.
That fear of the process can be crippling or one might be afraid of losing themselves in the process. To become rich one has to take risks, be dominant, demonstrate confidence, be assertive, say no, and do what others aren’t willing to do.
To have a net worth of $20 million requires a lot more work than having a net worth of $2 million. You’ll inevitably spend more time thinking about money and you’ll have to shake a lot more babies and kiss a lot more hands.
None of this is bad but unlike what the get-rich-websites tell you, it takes quite a lot more than just a mental shift. I can’t think of any rich person in my circle who wasn’t willing to take on some risks.